Crime stoppers’ alert: If you find this cassette in any video store’s kids’ section — where you’d think a title with the word kindergarten in it would belong — have the place nailed for fraud. Encouraging young people to rent Kindergarten Cop would be a crime.

The idea of the extremely big (Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose upper arms are larger than the average person’s thighs) in comic collision with the very small (a kindergarten class) is rich in possibilities. But Kindergarten Cop, in which America’s favorite lunk goes undercover as a teacher in Oregon to retrieve big drug money, is, above all, offensive and violent. Conan the Teacher turns the tots into something resembling Hitler Youth, with the kids (obviously too old for kindergarten) goose-stepping their way toward obedience and responding to boot-camp commands.

All along, Schwarzenegger — in a role intended to show his light side — looks as if he’s in labor with each line he delivers. Or, as his undercover buddy Pamela Reed says, ”If you were any stiffer, we could take you to go surfing.” D

Kindergarten Cop
  • Movie
  • 111 minutes